You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus
Friday, February 29, 2008
Where Is Zombie Goldwater?
My mother just forwarded over the following email making the rounds. It came from a friend of my father’s who works in the oil industry, and one presumes is a Republican Conservative of some nature.
Well, this will really make you think…..thought that you should see this information. Check the site below as well.
Taxes...Whether Democrat or a Republican you will find these statistics enlightening and amazing.
Taxes under Clinton 1999 Taxes under Bush 2008
Single making 30K - tax $8,400 Single making 30K - tax $4,500
Single making 50K - tax $14,000 Single making 50K - tax $12,500
Single making 75K - tax $23,250 Single making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 60K - tax $16,800 Married making 60K- tax $9,000
Married making 75K - tax $21,000 Married making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 125K - tax $38,750 Married making 125K - tax $31,250
It is amazing how many people that fall into the categories above think Bush is screwing them and Bill Clinton was the greatest President ever. If Obama or Hillary are elected, they both say they will repeal the Bush tax cuts and a good portion of the people that fall into the categories above can’t wait for it to happen. This is like the movie ‘The Sting with Paul Newman’; you scam somebody out of some money and they don’t even know what happened.
I normally just ignore this sort of thing, but I was so angry I couldn’t let this one go. My response is posted below. Please feel free to pike it for your own use if you like.
I normally don’t respond “en masse” to these types of things when I receive them, but I think this is such a vitally important issue, especially in an election year, that I have decided to respond, solely out of a sense of “telling the whole story.” I have been a registered Republican my whole life, but earlier this year I became a Libertarian, and it is precisely over this issue.
Yes, the Clintons taxed us more. But, believe it or not, they also spent less than Bush has. Much, much less. Here’s one report from the Libertarian Cato Institute. (I recommend you all click the links below and read the articles in full, as many of them contain numerous graphs easily showing the unholy spending increases under Bush II versus Clinton.)
President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.
Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.
The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.
The GOP was once effective at controlling nondefense spending. The final nondefense budgets under Clinton were a combined $57 billion smaller than what he proposed from 1996 to 2001. Under Bush, Congress passed budgets that spent a total of $91 billion more than the president requested for domestic programs. Bush signed every one of those bills during his first term. Even if Congress passes Bush’s new budget exactly as proposed, not a single cabinet-level agency will be smaller than when Bush assumed office.
Next, we have a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Conventional wisdom holds that non-defense discretionary spending has been cut to make room for defense spending increases. Conventional wisdom is wrong. According to OMB Historical Table 8.2, non-defense discretionary outlays – adjusted for inflation –surged by 34 percent between 1999 and 2005. That is the largest six-year expansion since the 1970s.
One way to compare current discretionary spending trends is by presidential administration:
Overall discretionary outlays rose 2.3 percent annually under President Clinton, compared to 9.7 percent annually under President Bush. Defense was virtually frozen in nominal dollars under President Clinton, and has averaged 12 percent annual growth under President Bush. Non-defense discretionary outlays rose 4 percent annually under President Clinton, versus 8 percent annually under President Bush.
Let me re-emphasize that last point: Non-defense discretionary spending has grown twice as fast under President Bush as under President Clinton. Examples of discretionary spending increases between 2001 and 2006 include the following:
Education is up 62 percent, or 10 percent annually; International affairs is up 74 percent, or 12 percent annually; Health research and regulation is up 57 percent, or 9 percent annually; Veterans’ benefits are up 46 percent, or 8 percent annually; Science and basic research is up 40 percent, or 7 percent annually. and Overall non-defense discretionary outlays are up 46 percent, or 7.8 percent annually.
Here’s another Heritage report.
Federal spending’s drag on the economy is now over $20,000 per household—its highest level since World War II—and growing. Mandatory spending reached 11 percent of GDP for the first time ever. The recent Medicare drug bill represents a huge long-term burden on the fiscal health of this country. It was a massive entitlement expansion passed with no financing program to pay for it and is estimated by CBO to cost well over $2 trillion dollars over a 20-year period. The final check for this program will come due just when Social Security and Medicare run out of money.
Spending has increased twice as fast under President Bush as it did under President Clinton. From 2001 to 2003 total spending grew by 16 percent. Certainly the terror attacks of 9/11 placed additional demands on spending for homeland security, a strong defense, and rebuilding New York. However, this accounts for less than half of the new spending that has occurred since 9/11. What was so sorely lacking during this time was self-discipline required to balance fiscal priorities.
Presidents Roosevelt and Truman signed budgets during World War II and the Korean War which actually decreased non-defense spending. However, we saw no such balancing of our fiscal checkbook after 9/11. Instead we saw a spending spree in Washington where budgets written by Congress and signed by the President during the War on Terror actually grew non-defense spending by 11 percent during this period.
Compared to the President’s record of a discretionary spending increase of 27 percent over the past two years, holding discretionary spending to 4 percent growth might seem like quite an accomplishment to some. However it is hardly a prescription for long term fiscal health when taken in the overall context of growth in the budget, its burden on taxpayers, businesses, and families, and the burgeoning deficits looming in the future in Medicare, Social Security, and other programs like the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
The President has laid out visions for other priorities such as education and a mission to Mars. Education spending has increased by 65 percent over the past two years, and still the President’s proposals will likely contain additional spending. This comes at a time when cash is piling up in Washington because states cannot spend it quickly enough.
Cost estimates for the President’s space initiatives range from $500 billion to $1 trillion. But the fact is we just do not know how much it will cost for a mission to Mars, complete with a pit stop on the moon. The President has a vision of new technology to explore this new frontier and would be engaging the country on a long-range project. Past experience tells us that such grand undertakings are plagued with cost overruns, delays, and technical difficulties. The start up costs identified by the President are just a minimum down payment on the ultimate costs of this initiative, and he has presented no long-range plan to finance such costs. The full costs will most likely come into play just as the bitter fiscal reality of the Social Security and Medicare problems confront the nation.
And here’s how the indispensable FactCheck.org covers the subject.
Discretionary spending—meaning spending that is subject to annual legislative appropriations, as opposed to spending for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare—actually grew only 5.6% in Clinton ‘s last budget year (fiscal year 2001, which began October 1, 2000).
Since then discretionary spending has not “steadily declined” as the President said, but has gone up. In fact, the growth has been much faster than under Clinton . In the first year for which President Bush signed the spending bills discretionary spending growth soared to 13.1%, and annual growth remained in double digits through the current fiscal year.
You will never meet a more pro-market, low-tax capitalist whore than me. I find the thought of another Clinton presidency to be absolutely nauseating. I became a Republican 20 years ago (I’m 38) because I fundamentally disagreed with the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats. The problem, however, is that in the last decade we’ve seen the Republican Congress literally writing itself blank checks to increase domestic spending on all sorts of issues that have traditionally been the purview of the Democrats.
The fact of the matter is, tax increases—big ones—are now inevitable, because society has grown used to suckling at the government teat, and neither party wants to be the one to tighten the belt at the expense of fabulous cash and prizes doled out as government freebies. Clinton was significantly more fiscally sound than Bush has been. Whether taxes are raised under the next president or not, the indisputable fact is that the current president has been spending the money of your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I hope that you find this idea as obscene as I do. I am going to spend the rest of my life paying higher taxes because of the spending spree undertaken over the last decade or so by Bush and the GOP Congress.
Think of your own household budget. Could you spend money like this and remain fiscally solvent?
Obviously there are many people concerned with paying higher taxes. I certainly am one of them. But if you don’t want to pay higher taxes, then stop voting for the party who keeps spending money it doesn’t have. It’s a shame that in this election cycle the only candidate talking seriously about these issues was the kooky weirdo Ron Paul, a man with no possible chance of ever being elected.
I have voted in every election since 1988. I am seriously considering not voting this year, for the simple reason that I see very little difference between the parties. Both of them are strict believers in the transformationalist nature of government. The only difference is that the Democrats will raise your taxes *now* to pay for their spending, while the Republicans will write an IOU so that someone else (i.e. your kids) can pay for it *later*.
It’s time for Republicans to stop this “compassionate conservative” nonsense. It’s not like people didn’t see this coming. In the preeminent conservative magazine “National Review,” Jonah Goldberg wrote the following in 2003.
“Bush spends too much money. Period. This is one of the downsides of so-called compassionate conservatism, because inherent to the very concept is that the governmemt should do something to prove its “compassion.” Combine this wih the Rovian desire to expand the Republican base to constituencies who want more—rather than less—from government and you have recipe for vast expansions in government spending.”
As you participate in the political process, keep this issue in mind. As far as I am concerned, government spending is the single greatest threat to the future of the United States, a hell of a lot greater than terrorism. Your chances of being the victim of a terrorist attack are about 10 times *less* than your chances of being struck by lightning, but your chances of a grim financial future are all but guaranteed due to this country’s spendthrift nature.
As long as we keep electing politicians who promise to “do something,” we can’t complain when the bill for what they have done comes due. All the best to everyone.
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Posted by Lee
on 02/29/08 at 10:58 PM in •
Some commenters were asking the question why I admire Harry more than his brother. Harry has been painted by the English media as the party boy misfit, who didn’t get enough face time in front of his mother, and who many (I have had MANY o’ conversation with common English folk about this) believe Charles is not the father of. Talk about the ‘Red Headed Step Child’. When I come to find Harry is actually clamouring to head back to the frontlines, I am even more enthralled with this Prince. Harry finds Valour.
Prince Harry may be returning from the Afghan frontline to a hero’s welcome, but he seems far from happy with England, notably life on the media frontline, according to remarks released Friday.
The Ministry of Defence said the 23-year-old was being pulled out of Afghanistan “immediately” after a US website breached a media blackout on his presence in the violence-scarred southern province of Helmand.
Officials have praised the British media for strictly adhering to the embargo on reporting Harry’s deployment, which came after he was unable to go to Iraq last year due to concerns for his security.
But Harry, third in line to the British crown, didn’t seem overly happy with his homeland’s press, who have given generous coverage in recent years to his partying escapades in the nightclubs of London and elsewhere.
“I don’t want to sit around in Windsor,” he said, referring to his barracks near a royal residence outside London in a pooled interview in Afghanistan last week, released after the blackout on his whereabouts was broken.
“But I generally don’t like England that much and, you know, it’s nice to be away from all the press and the papers and all the general s..(expletive) that they write."emphasis-mine
I could write novel on this topic, but in summary, just a few points. Harry has watched the English media tear his mother a new asshole his entire life. If there was that amount of dedication by the royal family to deride my mother, and disgrace me, I would have probably gone postal. this kid has BALLS, and that’s something hard to find in a kid who has nothing short of fairytale status given to him. Next, let’s talk going to fight, and acutally WANTING to go back. I think that is such a commendable trait, it is worth pointing out. This story will end up getting spun, but I believe it, and I do so because I had a grandfather who did three tours in Vietnam. I think he now has the connection, and understands why this is important. Lastly, I wanted to point out that this ‘spoiled brat’ seems to be more enduring of a cause that was spawned from an attack on us, than the democratic party is. Very important to point out. This kid is not there because of England, he’s there in support of us.
Top-selling daily The Sun described him as “a man of outstanding courage who has risked having his head blown off by the Taliban so he can serve his country with his mates.”
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described him as an “exemplary soldier (who) is serving with dedication in the finest tradition of our armed forces.”
What better way to honor his mother? Again, I state that what you are looking at is valour. Not just the valour of a man, but the valour of an ally. One who believes in a cause we seemingly have forgotten ourselves. Remember he is 8 years away from the horrific attacks on our World Trade Center, and was barely a teenager at the time. He has still found resolve in this fight, and has traded in his Rolls Royce and night club life for a cause.
That is what a king is made of.
Posted by Manwhore
on 02/29/08 at 08:49 PM in Europe and the UK
I know it’s awful and sexist of to be criticizing Hillary. I need to level the playing field a bit. So I’ll go ahead and agree with Hill that she’s the one best suited to be answering the phone at 3 am. After all, being Bill’s wife, she must have tons of experience with alarming early morning phone calls.
Posted by Hal_10000
on 02/29/08 at 07:09 PM in Election 2008
And the Creeping Sovietism continues with Hillary’s plan to reduce poverty:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is offering a plan to improve childhood nutrition and setting a goal to reduce by half the 12 million youngsters living in poverty over the next dozen years.
A package of proposals, to be unveiled Thursday, includes a “comprehensive” early education initiative that starts with nurse’s visits for pregnant women, lets children begin the Head Start program earlier and calls for universal pre-kindergarten programs.
The New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate also says she would deal with childhood hunger by putting in place a food safety net, and give children “greater access to healthy, fresh food.”
She was to spell out her proposals in a speech at the child care development center on Ohio University’s southern campus.
Clinton aides said the new programs would carry and annual price tag of $5 billion to $6 billion. A significant portion of her plan comes by expanding existing programs. She would cover the cost by toughening enforcement to collect taxes currently owed but not paid.
Clinton said she would direct her agriculture secretary to develop a plan to end childhood hunger. The nutrition effort would come largely through signing up more people for the food stamp program and expanding its benefits.
Clinton also says she would launch an effort to get junk food out of schools. She would require schools that get federal funding through the school lunch or breakfast programs to offer only food that meets or surpasses USDA standards.
Background documents outlining her proposal were provided to The Associated Press and include some proposals that Clinton has offered in the past such as calling for an increase in the minimum wage to aid the working poor, as well as expanding the earned income tax credit, a move that helps the same group.
In addition, Clinton was calling for stronger programs aimed at cutting teen pregnancy as well as toughening child support enforcement programs to “support responsible fatherhood.”
Where do I start?
First off, we’ve all tried all this stuff and it’s done nothing. We’ve poured trillions of dollars into these programs to no avail.
Second, notice Hillary’s logic—children are poor only because their government isn’t doing enough. Never mind that most poor children are in poverty not because of a lack of government attention but because their parents dropped out of school, did drugs, committed crimes or had their children at young ages. Her last initiative—to cut teen pregnancy—might have some long term benefit. That is, if you trust the government to reduce teen pregnancy, which I don’t.
Third, and most important, Hillary is certainly aware of both the above points. Hillary is many things but she is not stupid. No, child poverty is an excuse for her to advance her vision of the Ultimate Nanny State. The government starts taking care of you in the womb (that is, unless your mother decides to abort you). You are hustled in government
indoctrination centers schools and daycare centers at the earliest possible moment. You are bombarded from cradle to grave with government messages about appropriate behavior. And if you still screw up, no worries! The Nanny State is there to bail you out of any personal responsibility.
Why do I call it Creeping Sovietism? Because the Soviet Union had a very similar system. Children were in government daycare by the time they were three months old. From then on, they were continually indoctrinated as to proper behavior by their government. They were never anyone’s children, really. They were assets of the State. If someone can explain the difference between the Soviet system and Hillary’s Village, I’d like to hear it.
There is something worse than having poor children raised by irresponsible parents. Having them raised by government.
Posted by Hal_10000
on 02/29/08 at 05:13 PM in Election 2008
Two Nuts In Every Campaign
Both parties have their share of kooks. Obama has Louis Farrakhan to deal with, while McCain has this creep.
On Thursday John McCain welcomed the endorsement of John Hagee, but a day later the Arizona senator sought to maintain some distance from the evangelical leader after the Catholic League and the Democratic National Committee called on McCain to denounce his support, citing controversial remarks Hagee has made in the past on a variety of subjects.
“Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee’s views, which I obviously do not,” McCain said today in a statement, “I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Catholic League President Bill Donohue released a statement Thursday entitled “McCain Embraces Bigot” and accused Hagee of a decades long “unrelenting war against the Catholic Church.”
The DNC also issued a statement today asking “So which Hagee positions does John McCain endorse?” and includes a list of derogatory statements Hagee has made in the past involving Catholics, women, and Muslims, among others.
Now, I don’t think McCain is in any way a bigot, but it does bug me that he’s moving so far to the right to convince voters that he’s a “Real conservative.” Moving further to the right than where they actually were is partly what cost Bush Senior and Bob Dole their elections. If this is going to be the way the McCain campaign goes, then he’s in trouble.
Peace, Love, And Language Skills
All I can say is: Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Freeloading hippie Mark Boyles, 28, decided to demonstrate his contempt for the modern world, materialism, and a bunch of other really terrific things by walking to Gandhi’s birthplace in Porbander, India. Boyles is an acolyte of the “Freeconomy” movement, a method of living that, according to the group, “allows people to make the transition from a money based communityless (sic) society to more of a community based moneyless society.” In other words, he’s a middle class beggar. On the first day of his trip, according to this BBC report, he scored two free meals in the English town of Glastonbury. Hardly surprising; the town is, after all, listed as one of England’s “hippie havens.”
Boyles and two friends then managed, in a grubby version of Operation Overland, to land in Pas-de-Calais, France, where the mission encountered into its first snag. According to the BBC, the wandering Freeconomist was quickly mistaken for an indigent “because he could not speak French [and] people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.” On his blog Boyles complained that “not only did no one not (sic) speak the language, [the French] had also seen us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about.”
The group was now “out of food, hadn’t slept in days and were really cold,” and decided, in a grubby version of Dunkirk, to abandon the mission and head back to England. Boyles is disappointed-but not deterred. He is, the BBC reports, planning “to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year.” At which point the cycle begins anew, when, upon reaching Baden-Baden, the poor lad will realize that he should have also studied German.
Freeloading backpackers? Hey, if le shoe fits, morons!
Torture For Fun And Profit
Now where did they get this idea, I wonder?
A supervisor at a motivational coaching business in Provo is accused of waterboarding an employee in front of his sales team to demonstrate that they should work as hard on sales as the employee had worked to breathe.
In a lawsuit filed last month, former Prosper, Inc. salesman Chad Hudgens alleges his managers also allowed the supervisor to draw mustaches on employees’ faces, take away their chairs and beat on their desks with a wooden paddle “because it resulted in increased revenues for the company.”
Prosper president Dave Ellis responded that the allegations amount to “sensationalized” versions of events that have gone uncorroborated by Hudgens’ former coworkers.
“They just roll their eyes and say, ‘This is ridiculous . . . That’s not how it went down,’ “ Ellis said.
The suit claims that Hudgens’ team leader, Joshua Christopherson, asked for volunteers in May for “a new motivational exercise,” which he did not describe. Hudgens, who was 26 at the time, volunteered in order to “prove his loyalty and determination,” the suit claims.
Christopherson led the sales team to the top of a hill near the office and told Hudgens to lie down with his head downhill, the suit claims. Christopherson then told the rest of the team to hold Hudgens by the arms and legs.
Christopherson poured water from a gallon jug over Hudgens’ mouth and nostrils - like the interrogation strategy known as “waterboarding” - and told the team members to hold Hudgens down as he struggled, the suit alleges.
Maybe they were just trying to protect Amurka from unfriendly salesmen.
Posted by West Virginia Rebel
on 02/29/08 at 04:23 PM in Politics
Eeesh. Check out the anti-smoking ad from new Zealand. Yes, two cigarettes made to look like the Twin Towers.
I used to smoke about half a pack a day back in college. These days, I’ll have the occasional one when I’m out socializing (and never around my daughter). But the insulting anti-smoking ads make me want to run out and smoke three packs just to give the middle finger to these self-righteous twerps.
LONDON, Feb. 28—Prince Harry has been fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan for 10 weeks, his presence there kept secret until Thursday in a remarkable deal between the British military and news media.
British military officials confirmed that Harry, 23, third in line to the British throne, deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 14 and has been fighting Taliban forces from a forward operating base in southern Helmand province.
News of Harry’s deployment immediately became sensational news here and rekindled an emotional debate about whether the red-haired second son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana should be risking his life in war.
When the news was posted Thursday on the Drudge Report Web site, British newspapers and television stations instantly rolled out extensive special reports on the first British royal to see combat since the Falklands War more than 25 years ago.
Those reports included lengthy taped interviews with Harry just before his deployment in December and last week at his Afghan base. Photos and video showed Harry firing a machine gun, patrolling on foot in full combat gear in an Afghan village and washing his socks in a camp sink.
“All my wishes have come true,” Harry told reporters in last week’s camp interview, wearing a brown military T-shirt and camouflage pants and noting that he had not showered in four days.
For anyone who keeps up with the Royals, I am a fan of Harry. I think he’s a man by comparasion to his genetically deficient father, and a pride to all who have the blood of the island running through them.
Posted by Manwhore
on 02/29/08 at 08:06 AM in Europe and the UK
Oh dear. Not this again.
“Economists have modeled the impact of many variables on people’s overall happiness and have consistently found that children have only a small impact. A small negative impact,” reports Harvard psychologist and happiness researcher Daniel Gilbert. In addition, the more children a person has the less happy they are. According to Gilbert, researchers have found that people derive more satisfaction from eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching television than taking care of their kids. “Indeed, looking after the kids appears to be only slightly more pleasant than doing housework,” asserts Gilbert in his bestselling, Stumbling on Happiness (2006).
Of course, that’s not what most parents say when asked. For instance, in a 2007 Pew Research Center survey people insisted that their relationships with their little darlings are of the greatest importance to their personal happiness and fulfillment. However, the same survey also found “by a margin of nearly three-to-one, Americans say that the main purpose of marriage is the ‘mutual happiness and fulfillment’ of adults rather than the ‘bearing and raising of children.’”
Gilbert suggests that people claim their kids are their chief source of happiness largely because it’s what they are expected to say. In addition, Gilbert observes that the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it and children are expensive, even if you don’t throw in piano lessons, soccer camps, orthodonture, and college tuitions. Gilbert further notes that the more children people have, the less happy they tend to be. Since that is the case, it is not surprising that people are choosing to have fewer children. And if people with fewer children are happier, then people with no children must be happiest, right? Not exactly, but the data do suggest that voluntarily childless women and men are not less happy than parents. And they sure do have more money to squander as they try to pursue what happiness they can and strive to somehow fill up their allegedly empty lives
This post ended up long. More past the break.
I’ve blogged on this before. Money quote:
As a father-to-be, I’m not having kids because I think it will make me happy. I hope it will. But I’m principally having kids because I think it’s an end in itself, that I have a duty to the future to create and form a good person to advance the human comedy one more generation. To not have kids because it might affect my life is the ultimate selfishness, no? To sacrifice the future to sustain my present?
We all do things that we must do, whether we like them or not. I work a job because I need to provide for myself and my family and I hope to contribute something with my time on this planet. That I enjoy my work is a nice side effect. I also do a lot of things I don’t like because I must. That includes mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, scooping the cat litter, etc., etc. I have always hated the Utilitarian philosophy.
I hope that having kids will bring me happiness. And I think it will. But that’s not the reason I’m doing it.
I tend to be very Kantian in my personal philosophy, in case you haven’t noticed.
But thinking about it some more, I call bullshit on the entire exercise. Measures of happiness are complete crap. Different things make different people happy and to different degrees. So if one couple is very happy about kids and another is unhappy, we conclude that kids that don’t make you happy. And while you are doing that, you might all want to slip into your size 10 shoes. Just cut off some toes if they don’t fit.
(Also, keep in mind that the poor are having more kids than the middle class. They might be unhappy for other reasons.)
Moreover, the happiness of kids is highly variable. At 3 am, when my daughter won’t sleep, my kid is making me extremely unhappy. In the afternoon, when she wakes up from her nap, sees me and gives a great big grin, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. And this applies double over the macro scale. As Yglesias points out:
Whatever else raising children may be, it’s also an expensive and time consuming pain in the ass that sharply limits your flexibility to do a variety of things for a large number of years. One can easily imagine the joys of parenthood being roughly offset by the burdens. But later in life, having a solid relationship with grownup kids and their children seems low-cost and hard-to-replace. Loneliness is very hard on people. To acknowledge that reality isn’t to say we need to get all freaked out if the norm moves from 2-3 kids per family to 1-2 kids per family.
This is one of the biggest reasons I decided to have kids. Because I didn’t want to be a lonely 85 year-old man wishing he had kids. The novel I’m working on deals with precisely this theme. I think of kids as an investment in happiness. They are going to make me extremely miserable between the ages of about 2 and 30. But watching them finish college or get married or have kids of their own will make up for that. Hell, watching my daughter figure out how to yank the power cord of Daddy’s laptop is rewarding. And when I die—hopefully at a very advanced age while in flagrante delicto with someone of very moderate age—it will be of some comfort to know that it wasn’t all for nothing.
OK, that was all just filler. Now we get to the statement that really pissed me off and got me blogging:
Your net carbon impact depends far more on the number of children you will have than any other variable; remember good environmentalism uses a zero rate of discount. So people with no biological children should be allowed to fly a lot and people with lots of biological children should not get to fly so much at all.
I think he’s being ironic (it’s 3 am and I just fed my little happiness investment. Give me a break). But I’ve heard this stated seriously, most often when people were incorrectly freaking out about overpopulation.
Yes, it’s true, my daughter will emit a lot of greenhouse gases over the course of her life. Mostly by breathing.
She might also discover the fundamental breakthrough that leads to nuclear fusion power and the complete abolition of fossil fuels.
You see, the only real capital in the world is human ingenuity and endeavor. We need as much of it as we can get. We could solve global warming by offing our entire race. But that’s not exactly an ideal solution, is it? Well, maybe if you’re a member of PETA, it is.
Oh, one last thing. These projections that our problem in the mid-21st century will be underpopulation because of declining birth rates? Yeah, I call bullshit on that too. These are the same jackasses who were telling us the world was going to be dangerously overpopulated. They were saying this as recently as ten years ago. Anyone who tries to project a half century down the road is playing with Numbers in the Dark. It’s something to keep an eye on (see Security, Social). But formulating panic-laden policy over it is asking for trouble.
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Posted by Hal_10000
on 02/29/08 at 01:58 AM in Deep Thoughts
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Well, I’m sure it was fabulous while it lasted.
PHILADELPHIA — Twin brothers who have appeared in hardcore gay-porn online videos are charged with the rooftop burglary of a South Philadelphia business and are suspected in dozens of similar crimes in at least three states, authorities said.
Keyontyli and Taleon Goffney, 25, of suburban Pennsauken, N.J., were arrested Feb. 19 after authorities from a multistate task force said they watched the twins break into a South Philadelphia beauty shop through the roof.
The brothers are suspects in dozens of burglaries committed over the past 18 months throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, where intruders gained entry by hacking through the rooftops of businesses, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
Keyontyli, arrested at the scene of the Philadelphia burglary, was released after posting bail. Taleon, arrested a short time later, was being held in a Philadelphia jail.
The brothers face charges of burglary, trespassing, theft and related counts. A preliminary hearing is expected next month, authorities said.
Now these are two guys who will need to watch their cornholes.
I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine
And now we come to the real reason why Hillary is losing:
Asked why she thinks so many women may be feeling sorry for her, Clinton said, “I think a lot of women project their own feelings and their lives onto me, and they see how hard this is. It’s hard. It’s hard being a woman out there. It is obviously challenging with some of the things that are said that are not even personal to me so much as they are about women.
“And I think women just sort of shake their head,” Clinton continued. “My friends do. They say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is so hard.’ Well, it’s supposed to be hard. I’m running for the hardest job in the world. No one has ever done this. No woman has ever won a presidential primary before I won New Hampshire. This is hard. And I don’t expect any sympathy, I don’t expect any kind of, you know, allowances or special privileges, because I knew what I was getting myself into.
“Every so often I just wish that it were a little more of an even playing field,” she said, “but, you know, I play on whatever field is out there.”
Of course, it might be observed that it likely hasn’t exactly been a complete walk in the park for an African-American to run for president, either.
But apparently Clinton thinks—based on this comment—that the “playing field” is easier for a black man than a white woman.
When all else fails, make it about gender. Not about, you know, her sheer unlikeability and stuff.
Update by Lee: I am so fucking sick of this “level playing field” shit. Hillary is a woman who has had every possible advantage in life. To say that she’s had to struggle and fight and claw to where she now rests is, frankly, total bullshit. She is where she is because she carpetbagged into New York based on her husband’s reputation, just like RFK did with his brother.
Who do you think has it tougher, a black kid from a middle-class suburb of Atlanta, or a poor white trailer park redneck from the back woods of Tennessee?
This is nothing but portraying yourself as a victim, and I’m fucking tired of it. I’m tired of blacks doing it, I’m tired of women doing it, and I’m tired of every other fucking person doing it. I fucking resent the fact that I’m assumed to have some kind of “special privilege” because I’m a white male, like there’s a secret ID card that gets me promotions and raises over women and minorities. It’s not because I am intelligent, have marketable skills, and work 100 hour weeks that I have gotten to where I am at, no, it’s because us white folks gots ta take care’a our own, a’ight? I have no college degree. I started out at an entry level position and worked myself up into a senior position. I surpassed people who were far better educated than me, including some (gasp!) minorities, because I was better and smarter and worked harder than they did.
Fuck this victim shit. If you whine, you’re a fucking pussy and a maggot, and I’ll piss on your fucking grave. Everyone has obstacles in their way, your job is to overcome them. I was a fat, dorky, zit-faced teenager. I couldn’t get laid in a morgue. Perhaps we needed some kind of government program requiring a certain percentage of my high school’s cheerleaders to date people like me, you know, to level the playing field against those popular guys who were lucky enough to be born with good looks and athletic ability.
Numbers in the Dark, people. Read this and this from Cafe Hayek about how the Washington Post managed to turn the good news that median family wealth has risen by $25,000 over the last 15 years into bad news about debt.
Oh, yeah, that liberal media!
Posted by Hal_10000
on 02/28/08 at 08:27 PM in Politics
We’re a nation of jailbirds:
For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report.
The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.
Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008—one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.
The steadily growing inmate population “is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime,” the report said.
Look, I agree we have too many people in prison. But the Pew people need to pull their heads out of their asses. I don’t see how you can possibly say putting people in prison hasn’t cut crime when violent crime is at its lowest ebb in 35 years. Do they seriously expect us to believe that having some violent people behind bars has nothing to do with that? Give me a break.
Second, making this a matter of money is crazy. A criminal on the loose costs society ten times as much in destruction as a prisoner behind bars. Let’s get a little perspective, shall we?
Now, having flamed them, I agree with their basic point. We have way too many non-violent people behind bars, mainly because of our stupid War on Drugs. I’ve long felt prison should be reserved exclusively for the violent. And yes, I include Enron-type financial criminals in the ranks of those who shouldn’t be in prison. Financial criminals should be punished for spoiling our wonderful capitalist system by being forced to live like communists. Put them on minimum wage for the rest of their lives.
It’s going to be very difficult to reduce our prison population. Politicians never want to be seen as soft on crime. And that $50 billion isn’t just an expense—it’s a government subsidized industry. Prison guards aren’t going to want to leave their jobs. And you can bet that the first time a prison is closed, Michael Moore and/or Sixty Minutes will do someting about the poor devastated community.
Update: One of the fun things about a group blog is when Gripeboy posts something while I’m writing about the same issue. Doh!
Posted by Hal_10000
on 02/28/08 at 06:31 PM in Politics
Watch Out For Your Cornhole, America
Another resounding success in the war on drugs:
Record-High Ratio of Americans in Prison
NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.
Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation.
Way to go America! Way to shotgun a solution! Way to not see the nuances! Way to over-politicize an issue just to get your fucking lame old shriveled asses elected!
Can anyone say this is working?
Posted by on 02/28/08 at 06:26 PM in Politics